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Food for thought

Saunders student learns how to balance ideologies from two countries




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Naixin (Chris) Kang lives 7,837 miles from home and it takes more than 20 hours—with 16 hours of flying time—to reach her family doorstep in Shenzhen, China.

Shenzhen, located in Guangdong Province, has close business links with its southern neighbor, Hong Kong, and according to Kang, “has enjoyed rapid growth since the 1980s and is now the fourth largest city in China.”

The fourth-year accounting major at Saunders College of Business attended Beijing Jiaotong University from 2010 to 2012 and is in the first cohort of RIT’s 2+2 program with her former alma mater—which means she will graduate with honors from two universities this May. RIT currently has 13 scholars in the program—two graduate and 11 undergraduate students—and all but one, an economics major in the College of Liberal Arts, are earning degrees from Saunders College.

Kang’s dream is to own her own business back home in China, hoping to follow the footsteps of her father, Jian Kang, a businessman at Shenzhen Saiweite Industrial Co. Ltd., a company that sells computers and printers. In the meantime, she is enjoying life in the States—everything except the food.

“In China you can always go out to eat, day or night, and our custom is to have many dishes and sauces at each meal,” she explained. “Here, the malls and restaurants close early so when I’m hungry very late there’s only McDonald’s; plus you get to only order one meal off the menu,” she said with a laugh. “I like more choices because I love to eat.”

Consequently the culinary buffet on a Carnival cruise line last year was a real treat for Kang and her mother, Guanghua, who came to visit her daughter on a whirlwind tour to hotspots in New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Rochester.

Kang said maintaining a 4.0 GPA at RIT is easier than taking the college entrance exam in China, which she said is “very, very hard because so many people want to apply and the competition is intense.” While completing her degree, Kang has worked summer internships at Shenzhen’s KPMG and the Bank of China. She is a member of the New York State Society of CPAs, RIT honors program, Beta Gamma Sigma, president of the Chinese Culture Club, director of club events for Next Generation of Accountants, and recipient of Saunders College of Business Merit Awards and the Nathaniel Rochester Society Scholarship.

Kang said she keeps in touch with her family through Skype, China’s WeChat (voice and text messaging), and Renren (a social network similar to Facebook). She enjoys bowling every weekend but especially loves karaoke and sings Chinese rap because “it’s a very good way to relieve stress.”

She hopes to obtain a visa and work in an auditing firm after graduation. “I’m very outgoing and work hard; I’d like to be significant in a small company than to be insignificant in a large company.”